I think in theory most of us know that we are in charge of our home education. We make plans, we decide what to study, and we tell the textbook what to do. Well. . most of the time. Sometimes I think we let the textbook decide what is best for our students. We let the text decide how many problems our students need to do for mastery of a math concept, we let the text decide what stories are good to read, how much grammar should be included, and when our students should take a test. In a way we give the text book authority in our lives, and it comes with enough stuff to keep us all busy.
Back in my Reading Masters program I remember having this discussion with one my professors in our class. He said that most of us will trust the text book over our ability to teach our students. We will listen to what it says without questioning. I was fascinated with that. I am a rule follower and it is easy for me to follow the rules of the text book.
Knowing this about myself so I try to modify how I deal with my math texts, and some other ones.
1. In Math if there are too many problems I have my student do just the even numbered ones or just the odd numbered ones. Some kids need a great deal of practice in some areas and less in others. The textbook is just a resource.
2. I remember that I do not have to do every question, activity, or suggestion in the book. There is no textbook police.
3. I do not have to finish the text book. I remember my first year teaching I thought I did have to finish the Social Studies textbook. I made sure we covered all 50 states in the text. If the students wanted to work more on a state I said no . . we must finish all 50. We trudged through. I remember telling one of the other 4th grade teachers and she said. "Wow, really?? We have never finished a text. " I remember thinking, really?? I appreciated her for her wisdom.
4. Textbooks and books can be wrong. I can disagree with them.
5. If a students knows the materiel I can have them take an end of the unit test and if they do well skip that section of the text. Or we can just decide to.
6. I try to remember that I know my students' needs better than the text. So do you!
Do you feel the need to follow the text? Let me know.